Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin

'Ar Mhuin na Muice'

HABRCD001 Habari Records 2004 (Own Label)

"A jewel of a CD" The Irish Post, USA


"Bailiúchán cuimsitheach...tugann [sí] na hamhráin uaithi go spleodrach céiliúrtha" Foinse, Éire
"Bewitching" Hotpress Magazine, Dublin
"... a singer with an unquenchable fire in her belly" The Irish Times
"Striking vocals characterize this [debut cd]" Musical Discoveries, USA
"Cornish cream-like vocals ... an auspicious new vocal talent" Folk Roots
" exceptionally able debut ... a compelling collection." Geoff Wallis
"...impatient for fun and breathless with sweet huskiness..." Tommy Sands
"This album is a delight." Bruce Camron, Radio 2MCE-FM, NSW, Australia
"Sensitive and hauntingly beautiful" Rootsreviews
"An absolute treasure for any fan of Celtic languages or culture"
"A gem of World Music" Concerto Magazine, Austria

Dirty Linen, USA, July/Aug 2006

...her alto voice is pleasantly reminiscent of Dolores Keane's, rich and full of the little sighs and catches that distinguish mere vocalists from interpreters.

The Irish Post, USA, May 2005

Don’t let the title in Irish put you on your back foot if you don’t speak Irish; all of the Irish songs are given in Irish and English in the extensive CD booklet, and two of the songs are in English. But you won’t need the lyrics in English to take pleasure straightaway from this CD, and that’s because the songs are all sung, accompanied, and arranged with a real sense of adventure and fun.

Ar Mhuin na Muice (Air Win nah Mwik-yih) means "On the Pig’s Back", which refers to doing well in life. It reflects both Bríd’s own Irish culture and language, as well as her own life. It may be reflected in the confident tone of these lovely Irish songs, and the confidence to change things that are rarely changed in Irish singing. For example, in an interview in www. in August, 2004, she notes how she put a new melody with the lyrics of "An tSeanbhean Bhocht" and put a new rhythm on her version of the classic Donegal song "Máire Bhruithneal"

These may seem like small things, but they are of a piece with a playfulness and a larger willingness to try new things. This sense of fun comes out in Brd’s songs and the arrangements of Alan Burke, Bríd’s co-conspirator on the CD.

This can easily be heard on charming songs like "A Stór a Stór a Ghrá" (My dear, my dear, my love), which Bríd sings a cappella, but with vocal backing, something uncommon in traditional songs in Irish. There is also the haunting version of Bríd Óg Ní Mháile (Young Bridget O’Malley), which Bríd sings to the truly beautiful and modern guitar accompaniment of Alan Burke.

This sense of openness, on a tether of good taste, is also to be heard in the inclusion of "The Fuschia", a song in English by John McNutt, a friend of Bríd’s family from northwestern Donegal. The English lyrics capture the same feeling that so many Irish songs express, a wistful and yet rather direct sense of gain and loss as seen in the seasons and each person’s life. The accompaniment on this song is supernal.

Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin (Breej nee Weel-yon) was born of Irish parents in Kenya. She grew up in the Ros Goill area of northwestern Donegal. She was a member of her family’s band, Ceoltóirí Ghoill, until 1985. She moved to Graz, Austria, in 1998, when she accepted a job as a lecturer of German-English translation. She had been wanting to make a CD for sometime, and when she met guitarist and singer Alan Burke in 2000, she knew that he was the man to help her make it happen.

Together, they have made a remarkable CD. They had lots of help from distinguished people like Derry man Joe McHugh on uilleann pipes, whistle, and low whistle, Dublin fiddler Kevin O’Connor, and pianist and singer Ian Smith, who has long helped to promote traditional Donegal music.

Among others, she even has help from her mother Caitlín and brother Pádraig.

A jewel of a CD.

Available in America through

Paul Carr, Irish Post, April/May 05 Vol. 5 Issue 7 or click here.

Note from Bríd: in this case "Ar Mhuin na Muice", the title of the cd, refers to being overjoyed at having found such a great team of musicians to record with. Also the Ian Smith on my CD is not the Donegal/Scottish one, but Fermanagh recording technician extraordinaire Ian Smith of Red Lagoon Music. Check out his website at: Red Lagoon Music)

Green Man Review, USA, February 2005

Well, it has to be said that colourful doesn't even begin to describe Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin's early childhood development. Her generous liner notes hint at a childhood with the Masai, slogging it out around the Donegal school circuit, travels in Europe. She could, and should, write a book about it. Apart from the impish irreverence in the history there is a serious dedication to the Gaelic song tradition of Ireland. Of the thirteen tracks on offer, all but two are sung in Irish and very ably as well. This is not a solo effort though, kudos are delivered in spades to guitarist/singer Alan Burke for mentoring the project. He also contributes the lead vocals on the closing song.

Stylistically there's little original here but what is offered up is extremely competent. A variety of treatments immediately confide in the listener the sense that this singer is firmly rooted in the folk and traditional renaissance and that she really knows her stuff. All the classic combinations can be heard, guitar and tin whistle, three part harmony, unaccompanied, modern band arrangements with fretless bass, jazz-tinged chords and low whistles, voice and bodhran with more besides. Vocally Bríd steers well clear of the wispy fey department and instead elects to sing in the full on delivery manner of, perhaps, a Rosie Stewart or any one of the Ní Dhomhnaill sisters. A commendable approach.

Ar Mhuin na Muice translates as "on the pig's back," and culturally it couldn't be closer to the truth. This type of album is a brave move for any singer and it is testament to Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin that she pulls it off with aplomb, due in no small part to her appreciation and love of things Gaelic and the help of a very talented family of brothers and sisters with a great bunch of friends. More information about Bríd is available at her Web site. Likewise for Alan Burke
Pat Simmonds, Green Man Review, February 2005 Green Man Review

Living Tradition, UK, January 2005

According to the insert, Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin has been around for a while. She played with her family group, Ceoltóirí Ghoill, until they split up in 1985. She was away from the music for 15 years before meeting Alan Burke and teaming up with him to make this CD. Her absence is a pity, for she's a good singer, both in Irish and English. She has a good selection of songs, most of them not too well known. There isn't one of the 13 tracks I'd tire of.

'Ailiú Éanaí' is a simple children's song but she makes it into a haunting little love song. With the contempt there usually was for that class of men, that's the first love song I've heard dedicated to a tailor. 'An Sean Bhean Bhocht' is usually taken at a fair old clip, because it's about the hope of better times when the French come to Ireland. She takes a more reflective line, and it works. Ireland would just have had another bunch of scoundrels, anyway. Most of the songs are from her native Donegal, including 'The Fuschia' - in English - written by one of her neighbours. Others are from Conamara and Kerry, though the origin of 'Green Grows the Laurel' remains a mystery.

All in all, she has a great feel for a song; there are no 'straight out of the box' arrangements here. Every one's treated with respect, giving a good mix. Alan Burke provides most of the accompaniment, with various friends and relations helping out on uilleann pipes, button box, fiddle, piano and stringed things. Lyrics are given, with prose translations into English, as well as brief notes on each song. For the record, 'Ar Mhuin na Muice' = 'on the pig's back'. I'm not sure what the exact English equivalent is, 'living the life of Reilly', maybe?
Mick Furey, Living Tradition, January 2005 Living Tradition Online

Foinse, Éire, Nollaig/Dec 2004

"Ag féachaint tríd liosta na n-amhrán níl aon dabht ach gur bailiúchán cuimsitheach é seo. Cóirithe go tuisceanach ag Alan Burke tugann Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin na hamhráin uaithi go spleodrach céiliúrtha a thugann úracht do roinnt amhráin a cheapfá a bheith seanchaite faoin tráth seo, leithéidí 'A Stór a Stór a Ghrá' agus 'Caidé sins don té sin' atá ar bharr ár gcinn againn ar fad. Thaitin leagan Burke agus Ní Mhaoileoin den 'Trucaillín Donn' go mór liom - amhrán a bhí agam féin ag dul ar scoil ach ná chuala mé ar thaifead le fada an lá".
Foinse, 26ú Nollaig, 2004

Folk Roots Magazine, UK, December 2004

Gaelic song has been blessed with some new vocal discoveries over the last few years. Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin is another one to conjure with; born in Kenya and spending her early years immersed in Masai tribal culture, until her family returned to Ireland and settled in the Ros Goill Peninsula, Co. Donegal. She cut her teeth touring with Donegal-based Ceoltóirí Ghoill, and appearing at festivals in Scotland, Wales, Brittany and the US, before emerging out front. Extensive stage work has prepared the road for this, her solo debut.

Ar Mhuin na Muice means on the pig’s back and is a confident and forthright work. In the company of ex-Afterhours and now Airla guitarist/singer Alan Burke, himself no mean Gaelic singer, she ploughs a vocal furrow of familiar and rare songs within the Irish language canon, plus two songs in English. Of the latter, The Fuschia immediately catches the ear with a gently unfolding melody, delivered in a distinctive vocal style, while An tSeanbhean Bhocht shines in a spacious stripped-down treatment. Stór a Stór a Ghrá exhibits a steely feistiness and a rarley heard Nion a Bhaoillaigh alludes to an auspicious new vocal talent. With florid arrangements and smooth-flowing production techniques neatly framing Ní Mhaoileoin’s Cornish cream-like vocals, the final result at times recalls early Clannad in their Dulaman/Crann Úll period. Ar Mhuin na Muice is a finely wrought statement of intent - investigate.
John O’Regan, Folk Roots Magazine, December 2004 - "the home of folk music" on the net, November 2004

The singer Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin has re-emerged on the traditional music scene some 15 years after her family group, Ceoltóirí Ghoill, split up. In singer/guitarist Alan Burke she has found a first rate musical partner who has produced this album as well as performing alongside Ní Mhaoileoin.

The songs have an appealing simplicity marked by arrangements that are uncluttered and never too fussy. Eleven of the 13 tracks are based on traditional songs which are always sensitively arranged. The band has some excellent musicians including Kate Dunne (accordion), Joe McHugh (pipes and whistles), Kevin O'Connor (fiddle) and Wolf Zwiauer (bass). They combine well throughout from the opener, "Bídeach na gCarad", with its evocative fiddle, to the concluding "An Trucaillín Donn", celebrating the assertion of the Irish language. Indeed all but two of the numbers are sung in Irish.

N Mhaoileoin's singing is strikingly beautiful whether unaccompanied or accompanied by the band. Her bodhrá playing is effective too as on "Bheadh buachaillín deas ag Síle" which is an upbeat love song from Kerry. Áiliú Éanaí with its yodelling calls seems very suited to Austria where she now lives. A radical outlook plays its part too in some of the songs as in Án tSeanbhean Bhocht" which celebrates the sighting of the French fleet off the Irish coast in 1796. One of the highlights is "Bríd Óg Ní Mháile  featuring Burke's fine guitar playing combining well with the bass. Máire Bhruithneal follows in Clannad's footsteps in a very good version featuring Francis McIlduff on pipes.

This is an album which will be enjoyed by enthusiasts of Irish traditional music. The handsomely illustrated sleeve notes contain excellent information about the songs (including some witty commentary) and helpful translations.
Andi Jervis, Folking, November 2004

Musical Discoveries, USA, October 2004

Striking vocals characterize Irish Gaelic singer Brid Ni Mhaoileoin's debut album, Ar Mhuin na Muice (translated to On the Pig's Back) (Habari Records (Ireland) 001, 2004) ... you'll want to play it again and again! *****

To read full article click here:

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Rootstown, Belgium, September 2004

Bríd werd geboren in Kenia maar bracht haar kinderjaren door in Donegal, Ierland. Dat was de basis van waaruit ze als bodhrán-speelster en zangeres rondtrok met de familiegroep Ceoltóirí Ghoill. Midden de jaren 80 hield de groep het voor bekeken, Bríd ook en ze liet de muziek vijftien jaar links liggen. Bij wijze van spreken, want heel die tijd wist ze dat ze ooit wel eens een cd zou maken. In 2000 ontmoette ze zanger-gitarist Alan Burke en dat was meteen de geknipte persoon om mee samen te werken. Die collaboratie resulteerde in deze debuut-cd met bewerkingen van elf traditionals, één song van familievriend John McNutt (The Fuschia) en één gedicht dat ze op muziek zetten (An tSeanbhean Bhocht; heel mooi gedaan!). Brid zingt deze liedjes in het sean-nós, speelt zelf een aantal keren de bodhrán en wordt vergezeld door Alan (gitaar; lead vocals op An Trocaillín Donn), Kate Dunne (accordeon), Joe McHugh en Francis McIlduff (pipes & whistles), Kevin O’Connor (fiddle), Ian Smith (piano), Wolf Zwiauer (bas) en een paar familieleden die de backing vocals doen. Sowieso een genietbare plaat voor wie houdt van traditionele Ierse zang omringd door een traditionele instrumentatie. Dé hoogtepunten van de plaat zijn echter de a capella gezongen songs Ailiú Éanaí, A Stór A Stór A Ghrá en ’Níon A Bhaoilaigh dat ze helemaal op haar eentje brengt. Geen opzienbaring, gewoon een prima debuut. (MN)
Marc Nolis, Rootstown, September 2004

Geoff Wallis, irishmusicreview August 2004

"...a compelling collection". Click here to read the full article.
Geoff Wallis, August, 2004

Concerto Magazine, August 2004

Wenige wissen, welche weltmusikalischen Schätze in Österreich im Verborgenen leuchten. Die in Graz lebende irische Sängerin Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin bringt ihr Licht an die Öffentlichkeit und veröffentlichte heuer ihre erste CD - mit tatkräftiger Unterstützung des Sängers Alan Burke [Afterhours], in der irischen Szene bekannter Instrumentalisten wie Francie McIlduff, Joe McHugh und Kevin O’Connor sowie ihrer Geschwister Caitlín und Pádraig. Als Teenager war die in Kenia gebürtige Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin Leadvokalisten ihres Familienensembles Ceoltóirí Ghoill, mit dem sie bei Festivals in ganz Europa mit gälischen Gesängen aus ihrer Heimat Donegal und solchen in Swahili begeisterte. Auch "Ar Mhuin na Muice" enthält einige wunderschöne Lieder aus dem wilden, sturmumtosen Donegal im Nordwesten Irland, aber auch aus anderen Regionen. Geschmackvoll dargeboten und arrangiert, mit Texten in Glisch und Englisch sowie üppigen Informationen zu den Liedern und ihrer Geschickte.
Richard Schuberth, Concerto Magazine, August, 2004

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Irish Music Magazine, August 2004

    "Anyone with maybe just a wee bit more than a smidgen of Gaelic will know that the title of Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin’s new CD, "Ar Mhuin na Muice", means "On the Pig’s Back". And that in turn means that one is doing well, or as they say in Donegal where Bríd spent her childhood, ‘doing rightly’ because there are no great financial worries. And that includes Alan Burke, singer/guitarist, "the musical partner she had been looking for" and whom she met three years ago. During her childhood and into her early teens, Bríd played wuth the family group Ceoltóirí Ghoill. They travelled Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Brittany and the U.S.
    The group sang in English, Gaelic and Swahili. The first two languages need no explanatioin - but Swahili! That’s because Bríd was born in Kenya - to be near the mother. Her address today is in Austria where this CD was launched in early May and a week later there was a repeat performance at Club Chonradh na Gaeilge in Dublin. In her distinctive Donegal accent Bríd sings twelve songs of varied background and type, and Alan sings one. The first song on the CD, "Bídeach na gCarad" is a love song from Connemara; it’s followed by "The Fuschia", a ‘pride of place’ song in English by Bríd’s family friend, tweed designer John McNutt from Ros Goill in north Donegal.
    Farther along Bríd sings a song she heard sung by the Kerry singer, Seosaimhín Ní Bheaglaoich; there‘s the well-known children’s song "Ailiú Éanaí"; next is a song from the 1798 United Irishmen revolutionary period, "An tSeanbhean Bhocht". The next song needs no introduction either: "Green Grows the Laurel". Alan finishes off the thirteen tracks with a delightful rendition of a song based on a true story, "An Trucaillín Donn". It’s about a man who was prosecuted in 1910 for having his name on his cart in Irish. He lost, but everybody else then put their names on their carts in Irish, and the law couldn’t do nothing about it!
    Bríd is well served by her guest musicians who include Kevin O’Connor, (fiddle), Joe McHugh (pipes, whistles), Kate Dunne (accordion), Pádraig Ó Maoileoin (guitar/vocals), Caitlín Ní Mhaoileoin (vocals) and Ian Smith (piano, vocals).
Aidan O’Hara, Irish Music Magazine, August, 2004

If you look in an English dictionary, you will find that "on the pig’s back" also means "to have no financial worries". But If you look at what is said in the cd booklet about song number 12, you’ll see that it is not very likely that this was the meaning that was being taken from it! And anyway, how many bleedin’ musicians do you know who have no financial worries?! ;-) [Ed. (]

Hotpress Magazine, Dublin, July 2004

"Despite a fifteen-year break from the music scene that followed [Ceoltóirí Ghoill’s] split in 1985, Ní Mhaoileoin’s acapella training is evident in her sure, solid vocals. Her debut solo CD Ar Mhuin na Muice (On the Pig’s Back) was produced by Alan Burke, formerly of the band Afterhours, who also contributes guitar and backing vocals to fine effect. While many of the songs here are well-known (‘Green Grows the Laurel’, ‘Stór a Stór a Ghrá’, ‘Bríd Óg Ní Mháile’), Ní Mhaoileoin manages to put her own individual twist on them, to bewitching effect."
Sarah McQuaid, Hotpress Magazine, 15th July, 2004

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The Irish Times, June 2004

"The Donegal singer’s début whispers of gentility, but once the epidermis is peeled away, a strapping personality emerges that’d put legs on the coyest of songs. Ní Mhaoileoin’s vocals are seasoned by her years as a member of Céoltóirí Ghoill, and partnered by guitarist and singer Alan Burke, Ar Mhuin na Muice is laced with a love of history and geography, and a delight in tweaking well-known songs into shapes previously unseen. At times the production leans towards overweening politeness, but Ní Mhaoileoin’s reading of standards and rarities (Níon a Bhaoilaigh), and her feisty a capella version of A Stór a Stór a Ghrá, accompanied by her sister and brother, Caitlín and Pádraig, speak of a singer with an unquenchable fire in her belly."
Siobhán Long,The Irish Times, 25th June, 2004

Caitlín is her mother, not her sister! But sometimes you’d think she was her sister, the way she acts ;-) [Ed. (], July 2004

Die Sängerin aus dem irischen County Donegal, seit einigen Jahren in Graz wohnhaft, legt hier ein grossartiges Debut hin. Schon der farbenfroh-freche Cover (Bríd vor einer seltsam lächelnden Sonne - letztere blickt normalerweise aus einem Bild des Grazer Künstlers Manfred Url!) lässt einiges erwarten - sehr bunt und abwechslungsreich ist auch die CD geworden.
     In klanglicher Hinsicht bringt "Ar Mhuin na Muice" eine gelungene Mischung - ein weites Spektrum vom fast Orchestralen bis hin zu ganz sparsamen, introvertierten Arrangements. Produziert von ihrem langjährigen Duopartner Alan Burke (bekannt hierzulande durch die Band "Afterhours"), der auch Vocals und Gitarre beisteuert, wurden als Gäste unter anderem der Piper Joe McHugh, Kevin O’Connor (Fiddle), der ausgezeichnete Schweizer Bassist Wolf Zwiauer sowie Bríds Bruder und ihre Mutter Caitlín (Harmony Vocals) geladen. Wer’s nie verwinden konnte, dass die Gruppe Clannad nach ihren wunderschönen und innovativen ersten CDs nach und nach ins Esoterik-Kitsch-Eck abgedriftet sind: hier erwartet euch eine zeitgemäe gültige Fortsetzung dieses Konzepts... und mehr als das!
     Das Songmaterial umfasst grossteils traditionelles Material in gälischer Sprache, Bríds herbe, eindringlich-klare Stimme und ihre sehr persönlichen und frischen Interpretationen lassen jeden Song zu einem besonderen Unikat werden. Der besondere Bezug zu Sprache (Bríd ist mehrsprachig aufgewachsen und auch universitär als Übersetzerin tätig) ist dann auch am ausführlichen Booklet zu erkennen - hier gibt’s die vollen Übersetzungen der Songs, sowie kompetente und teils sehr witzig gehaltene Notizen zu Quellen, Herkunft etc. - für an keltischen Sprachen und Kultur Interessierte sowieso ein besonderer Schatz.
     Die Wahlgrazerin ist naturgemä auch immer wieder in Österreich zu hören - ein Glücksfall für die einheimische Szene! Alle Infos über ihre Konzerte, Biographie, Photos etc. gibt’s auf - dort kann auch die CD bestellt werden (18,- Euro + Versand).
July 2004

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The debut album of this outstanding singer features a balanced mixture of sean ns songs and ballads, played and sung with much feeling, as well as rhythmic songs - a perfect showcase for the fantastic musicians. Bríd’s singing is sensitive and hauntingly beautiful. She brilliantly carries her words forward and performs some breathtaking sean nós. You can feel her love of the music on Caidé sin don tsé sin? (what’s that to anyone?), one of her favourite songs. Carpe diem! She urges us with her singing while the bodhrán beats the rhythm. Alan, who started out as a percussionist, delights with his vibrant guitar playing, enchants the ballads with his beautiful backing vocals and plays the guitar as well as the bouzouki on traditional songs. The Donegal song An Trucaillín Donn (the little brown cart) deals with the suppression of the Irish language in the beginning of the 20th century. Alan’s beautiful singing is supported by the band’s excellent playing: Bríd on bodhrán, Wolf on base, Kevin on fiddle and Kate on accordion. Kate Dunne plays the accordion with much feeling and passion. Don’t miss her excellent solo on Bídeach na gCarad (sweetest of friends). Joe McHugh not only is a master of the uillean pipes, but he’s a great whistler as well. Kevin O’Connor’s remarkable fiddling contributes to the beauty of this album. Wolf Zwiauer’s driving base, alongside with Bríd’s bodhrán and Alan’s guitar, is responsible for the fine rhythms. Francis McIlduff, a brilliant musician as well, plays the pipes and the whistle on the Donegal song Máire Bhruithneal (you might have heard this song on Clannad’s Live album). Pádraig and Caitlín accompany Bríd on the stunning a capella song Stór a Stór a Ghrá (Darling Darling Dear). This is certainly one of my favourite songs. And Pádraig plays the guitar while Bríd sings and Joe plays the whistles on the Irish version of the song of the 1600s which is known worlwide Cá raibh tú ar feadh an lae uaim? (Where have you been all day). Ian Smith, the sound engineer, plays the piano and adds some backing vocals as well. Another highlight is the traditional children’s song Ailiú Éanaí an a capella performance by Bríd and Alan. Bríd’s voice has been recorded on multiple tracks and the title words have been adapted as well. Thus the singing recalls yodelling sounds in the Alps. I can hear some influence of African chanting as well, no wonder, Bríd spent her first childhood years in Kenya.
Bríd will certainly inspire friends of Irish music with her album. Working with Alan and the brilliant guest musicians this stunning CD is bound to have success and her genuine style is an excellent enrichment to the folk scene.
The CD is published on Habari Records (own label) 2004. Have a look at and you will find plenty of information on Brd’s different projects.
May 2004

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"Das Debüt Album dieser aussergewöhnlichen Künstlerin präsentiert sich mit einer ausgewogenen Mischung von traditionellen a Kapella Liedern, wunderschönen Balladen, gefühlvoll begleitet, und virtuos gespielten, rhythmischen Songs, die die Musiker dazu einladen ihr Können zu zeigen. Brids Spektrum reicht von gefühlvollem und atemberaubend schönem Gesang über eindrucksvoll gesungenen Texten bis zu rhythmisch vorgetragenen Sean Nós Gesängen. Ausserdem spielt Bríd das Bodhrán und die bones. Auf ‘Caidé sin don tsé sin?’, einem von Bríds Lieblingsliedern, hört man die Freude am Spiel heraus. Bodhrán und Gesang drängen uns Carpe diem".
May 2004   Click here for full

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Tommy Sands, May 2004

I have known Bríd since she was just a little girl fronting the talented and charming "Ceoltóirí Ghoill". Her solid grounding in both the language and tradition gives her the power of both playfulness and passion. Her voice impatient for fun and breathless with sweet huskiness is a welcome sound after all the years.

And here are some reviews of Alan's two beautiful solo cds.


Alan Burke

'On The Other Hand'

APBCD 001 Gurug Records 1997

"Burke's voice is a warm sounding instrument ideally suited for material as diverse as Percy French's hilarious 'Tullinahaw', Richard Thompson's 'You Can't Win' and the traditional 'Yarmouth Town'. However, it is three tracks which stand out, each creating their own atmosphere: Tim Wood's compelling 'Freeman' - a powerful descriptive song; the laid back treatment of Johnny Patterson's vaudeville love song 'Bridget Donaghue' and finally, a beautifully understated reading of 'Idir Corcaigh 'Gus Dughlais', a gaelic song from Co. Cork. These capture Alan Burke in his element, his interpretive skills most gainfully employed. 'On The Other Hand' opens Alan Burke's solo account very well indeed".
Aug/Sept 97 - John O'Regan, Folk Roots

"Burke has a really engaging way of singing, ideally suited to songs such as 'Bridget Donaghue', and he reallv comes into his own when he sings traditional songs such as 'The Bonnie Wee Lassie That Never said No', or 'Tullanahaw'. He has a nice clean approach to the guitar, and on most tracks he only allows himself the indulgence of one other musician, such as Dezi Donnelly or Giles Lewin on fiddle, or Francis Miliduff on whistle or pipes. The production on the most part is clean, unobtrusive and ideal for the material. As well as the trad songs, he covers gems such as Tim Woods 'Freeman' and Richard Thompson's 'You Can't Win' and his version grows more on me each time l hear it. Burke's own song 'What price oil' has the electric treatment for the final track, which adds to the intensity of the song, a protest at the super powers neglect of countries that do not happen to have oil supplies. He could easily concentrate on contemporary song, but on the evidence of this album he still has plenty to add to the power of the tradition".
Nov/Dec '97 - Graham Gurrin, The Living Tradition

This first solo recording from Alan Burke is a good one. Full of variety, half of the songs are traditional (including a great version of that old chestnut 'Yarmouth Town') and the others, excepting Richard Thompson's 'You Can't Win', are from relatively unknown song writers. Arrangements are simple, with electric guitar, fiddle, pipes, whistle or synthesiser, as needed. Burke's voice is endearing, with lots of personality showing through.
Dec 97/Jan '98 - JLe, Dirty Linen, USA

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Alan Burke was the lead voice in Afterhours, a highly respected touring and recording band, who never quite made the headway deserved. 'On The Other Hand', his debut solo album, has him delivering an assured and confident set. The material has a wider net including a more contemporary approach with electric guitars purring away on 'Yarmouth Town'. A sympathetic reading of Tim Wood's undiscovered classic 'Freeman' displays his interpretative skill, while 'Bridget Donaghue' escapes the vaudeville stage and becomes a thing of great beauty. Burke's strengths are his voice, a sweet mellifluous instrument, judiciously used and an understanding of his material. 0This is what makes 'On The Other Hand' such a pleasure. Alan Burke's rites of passage from band leader to first rate solo artist are complete. 'On The Other Hand' proves that.
Autumn/Winter '97/'98 - Rock 'n Reel

Since I've been home, I've been wearing out 'On Ihe Other Hand' . Wonderful album! His rendition of Tim Wood's "Freeman" haunts me. I think he hits a good combination on other selections of good rocking, the sweet traditional tunes, and the great Republican feeling of "Down By The Glenside", "An Dord Feinne" and "TheValley of Knockanure".
November 1997 - Ambrose Clancy, Los Angeles Times

Alan Burke

'Tip Of The Tongue'

APBCD 002 Gurug Records 2001

I first had the pleasure of hearing Alan Burke when Noel Murphy introduced him as a special guest at a pub in Twickenham some years ago. It struck me then just how good an interpreter of traditional songs he was and that has’t changed at all on the strength of this album. Opening with ‘The Longford Weaver’ (forever to be associated with Andy Irvine) he puts his own stamp on the song joined by Francis McIlduff on Uilleann pipes and the sweet toned fiddle of Henry Sears. There is much to admire in Alan’s free-flowing vocal style, which proves that year’s of hard work, can pay dividends in maintaining a natural timbre. Hopefully taken in the complimentary way it is intended, many of the arrangements sound as if they could be by an early line-up of Planxty. In addition to his vocal prowess, Alan is a not inconsiderable accompanist on guitars, bodhran and darabuka while contributions from Miranda Sykes double bass, John Harris celtic harp and Andrew Butler’s keyboards lend musical weight to a magic recording. For those of you that enjoy a bit of subtlety in your performance then this recording is for you. Purveyor of taste and an all round good guy check out Alan on one of his gigs or, even better, buy this album! Available from ADA Distribution, PO Box 800, Belper, DE56 2ZA
October 2001 - Pete Fyfe,

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